Montana Congressional Delegation: Protect Our Families & 2nd Amendment

We need action that protects both the Second Amendment AND our families and children. We are Montanans, gun-owners, and people of faith - we don’t need military assault weapons and hi-capacity magazines. We support your efforts to bolster mental health care, keep felons away from guns, and limit access to weapons that only the military and police should ever have.

Why is this important?

As we grieve the loss of 28 lives, including 20 children, in Newtown, CT, Montana shares the feeling of loss and sense of urgency this moment presents. As people of faith and clergy, we have mourned alongside families all too often. It’s time to call for an end to the violence that lands us in their living rooms year in and year out.

Among us are hunters and sportsmen who abhor gun violence, are members of the NRA, understand they don't need assault weapons to hunt, and want to be a voice of reason within the organization. God bless them.

All across Montana and the nation, people of faith and conscience are saying that this is the best opportunity in a generation to do something about mass shootings and gun violence in this country. There is no single solution to this problem, and a concerted effort to improve the provision of mental health care in this country must accompany any effort to restrict military weapons.

Senator Baucus, Senator Tester, and Rep. Daines, we offer you our support. As Washington takes up this issue in the coming weeks, we will stand by your side as you attempt to tackle this difficult and pressing issue. Though no policy proposal can single-handedly reverse a culture of violence, we think there are three places we can start:

1. Only allow the military and police to buy and own military assault weapons. The weapon used in Newtown was originally designed by NATO to fight Soviet soldiers in Eastern Europe. The Cold War has long since ended, and though our military commitments continue abroad, shopping malls, houses of worship, and elementary schools are no place for assault weapons.

2. Limit access to high-capacity magazines useful only for mass violence. No competent sportsman needs 30 or 100 rounds to do the job. Large capacity magazines were designed by the military for use in combat. There is no applicable civilian use. This technology was used with horrific effectiveness at Newtown and should end.

3. Make mental health care as easy to access as guns. There will always be guns in America - it’s part of our heritage. There will always be those among us who struggle with mental illness. It is our duty as countrymen and women, and as children of God, to care for them. Any effort to reduce violence must start with a serious effort to destigmatize, identify, and treat mental illness in our midst.

As you take up these issues in Washington, we offer you our support.

Next year, when another horrifying mass shooting happens, which community will be forced to bear unspeakable tragedy? Will we have done all we can to protect our children? We pray that community will not be in our home state of Montana. We pray that no community will suffer the tragedy of a mass shooting.

The Rev. Jessica Crist is Bishop of the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Issue Background:

How it will be delivered

Personal meetings with legislators.


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